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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    103 times
    This new book might be of interest to some forum members, as many actors from UK film and television

    appeared in post war British West End stage musicals.....

    'Rediscovering the post-war British Musical'..........

    Available now !

    'A Tanner's Worth of Tune: Rediscovering the post-war British Musical'

    by Adrian Wright

    Hardcover: 320 pages

    Publisher: Boydell Press

    38 b/w illustrations

    Pages: 320

    Size: 23.4 x 15.6

    Chapter Listing :

    1 Before and After: Vivian Ellis

    2 Delusions of Grandeur: Ivor Novello

    3 Mastering Operetta: Noel Coward

    4 Pastiche and Esoteric: Sandy Wilson

    5 Resounding Tinkles: The Plein Air Musicals of Julian Slade and

    Dorothy Reynolds, Geoffrey Wright and Donald Swann

    6 Away from Home: Adopted British Musicals

    7 Community Singing: Realism and the British Verismo Musical

    8 Specifically British: David Heneker, Monty Norman, Julian More

    and Wolf Mankowitz

    9 To Whom it May Concern: The British Biomusical

    10 Fin de Partie: John Osborne, Lionel Bart and after

    'A Tanner's Worth of Tune' is the first book to be written on the post-war British musical, and the first major assessment of the British musical for a quarter of a century, reviving interest in an archive of musicals that have been dismissed to the footnotes of theatrical history. This timely reappraisal of the genre and its social background, before the 'international' British musicals began appearing in the 1970s, argues for a radical understanding of the shows and their writers, and a rethinking of our attitude towards them.

    The musical plays of Ivor Novello and Noel Coward - both pre- and post-war - are discussed in detail, as are the two composers who came to dominate the 1950s, Sandy Wilson and Julian Slade, and the little school of 'plein air' musicals that threaded through that decade. The book brings together 'adopted' British musicals, discusses the rise and fall of the British 'verismo' and the biomusical, whether of Dr Crippen or the Rector of Stiffkey, finally charting the collapse of the British musical's nationalism in the 1960s as witnessed by John Osborne and Lionel Bart.

    This book is not an encyclopaedia of the British musical in the twentieth century, but an examination of its progress through change as it struggled to find an identity. The book shows how the British musical has reacted to social and cultural forces, suggesting that some of its leading composers such as Lionel Bart and Julian Slade contributed much more to the genre than has previously been acknowledged. As the British musical veered between opera, light opera, operetta, spectacle with music, kitchen-sink musical, recherché musical, adaptations of classic novels, socially conscious musicals et al., this fresh assessment of the writers and their work offers a new understanding of the British musical. Wright has proven to write in a most entertaining and illuminating style and A Tanner's Worth of Tune is no exception. The book is intended for the academic and general reader and in addition to offering a fresh assessment it draws on many interviews and conversations the author had with various composers, writers and performers who are subject of his study and to whom Wright had a unique access.

    The book draws on Adrian Wright's lifelong passion for British theatre music, its writers, composers, performers and craftsmen. Provocative, idiosyncratic and unfailingly entertaining, 'A Tanner's Worth of Tune' makes a compelling plea for a rediscovery of an era of pleasures which have too long been forgotten.

    ADRIAN WRIGHT is the author of the acclaimed Foreign Country: The Life of L.P. Hartley (1996), John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure (1998), and The Innumerable Dance. The Life and Work of William Alwyn (2008).

    Buy an author autographed copy from MCSR at £25.00 :


    Please Note: Due to high overseas postage rates for hardcover books, the author can only deliver signed copies to UK addresses.

    Overseas orders should be placed through Amazon UK, who are currently offering a very good deal :

    For E-mail enquiries, the author Adrian Wright can be contacted at:


  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: United States will.15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Could be a good book if it doesn't get too academic. I know there were a couple of musicals of Sweeney Todd prior to Sondheim, probably going more for laughs.

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